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by Military Diva

There is a very common question in my community and mom’s group.  “Do you really think we will need our stroller for our next vacation?”

While this is a no brainer for families with children under 3- yes, you absolutely need a stroller!  It is a trickier dilemma for those with preschoolers and even young school aged children. This is the age when we often urge our young ones to walk on their own, training them to pay attention to our location while staying within arms reach.  And it is a pain to travel with your own stroller if you don’t normally use one.

However, Disney is not your local area park.  Disney parks and resorts are expansive and require a lot of walking.  That is why I often recommend traveling with your stroller or having a backup plan to rent one, even if your child has outgrown the need for daily use.

Follow along to determine if your youngster still needs a stroller for your next vacation. 

What time of year will you be traveling to Disney?

This might be the largest factor in deciding if your 3-8 year old will need a stroller.  Disney World in particular is divided into seasons by crowd level.  Visiting during the “off” or value season means very low crowd levels.  This typically translates into a more leisurely-paced vacation. You can take the time to stroll around the parks without rushing from attraction to attraction, thus saving your feet and your sanity.  It also means you can walk at the pace most comfortable for your child.  However, a visit during the busy season means high crowd levels and long lines.  Your visit will be more scheduled which leads to faster paced days and more rushed movement.  Your child may have trouble keeping up.

Sometimes even the older kids need a place to rest.

Sometimes even the older kids need a place to rest.

What are the ages of the other members of your family?

Will you be traveling to Disney  with one child or a multi-aged group?  This can make a huge difference in the need for a stroller. The average person walks 6-10 miles a day when visiting Disney Parks. (Check out Disney Diva’s Tips for Walking Around Disney World or Disneyland) That is a lot of walking for a younger child.  If you are visiting with only one or two children you can often slow your pace to accommodate your youngest traveler.  But that becomes more difficult when traveling with a larger group or older children. It can be tricky to slow an excited 10 year old while pulling along a tired 5 year old. The smallest of legs often do their best to keep up, but still tend to burn out by midday.

Exhausted from keeping up with his sibling's pace.

Exhausted from keeping up with his sibling’s pace.

Is your child able to consistently stay with you or are they more of a wanderer?

Let’s face it, even in the off season Disney parks can be crowded.  If your child is able to follow directions and stay with you than you may not need a stroller for this situation.  However, please remember that Disney parks are full of distractions.  It is easy to walk on and realize a second later that your child is completely absorbed in a display or passing character, not hearing you say “Let’s Move!”. (Disney is designed to be a distraction, please do not get frustrated with their behavior!)

It is also extremely easy for a passing family to momentarily separate you from your child. During the off season it is easy to regain sight, although  that second can be terrifying!  But during peak crowd seasons or even at the end of high volume experiences (Fantasmic! or Wishes) it is very easy to lose sight of your little one in the thick crowds and suddenly find yourselves lost. Terrifying!

Ultimately, as a parent and traveler, you know your child best. But when headed to Disney parks your normal routines may not necessarily apply.  We have personally traveled to Disney World and realized too late that the trip would be smoother if we had a stroller (5 and 7 year old).  They would not normally be caught in such a torture device! But when attempting to keep up with our large family their bodies really struggled. It was so much easier for them to jump into the newly rented Disney stroller and enjoy the sights/sounds of Disney as they were transferred between attractions. And as parents, we had greater peace of mind knowing that they were safe and by our side.

Remember, there is no shame in doing what is best for your child and your own family. While initially embarrassed by an older child in a stroller, you may just save your vacation by offering your 3-8 year old a ride! Be sure to have a plan to take your own stroller along or leave room in your budget for a stroller rental just in case.  And in the meantime, think of all those drinks, jackets and souvenirs you won’t have to carry if you have a stroller with you!

Too tired to walk!

Too tired to walk!

Be sure to browse our site if you are looking for any additional tips on stroller use or rental during your next Disney vacation. Here are just a few recommendations.

Ready to book your next Disney vacation? Contact Patricia with All for Dreams Travel for assistance with your next vacation.  Her services are FREE and she can help you with all of your vacation planning needs!

Click here for a Free Quote! All for Dreams Travel is an independent agency with Gateway to Magic Travel, an Authorized Disney Travel Planner.

My name is Patricia, aka Military Diva, and I have a soft spot for Disney Destinations! After a two year post-9/11 deployment, our family was able to reconnect during a Disney World vacation. While counting on time together, we did not expect the touching service we received from Cast Members. We were treated like royalty! It is my mission as a writer for "Tips from the Disney Diva" and as owner of "All for Dreams Travel" to help other families experience their own special connections through travel.